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Morning Brew: Ford trial latest, Chow's mayoral odds improving, TTC fare hike coming, health board against casino, a mayoral wager, and a toilet with history

The judge presiding over a $6 million defamation lawsuit brought against mayor Rob Ford by Boardwalk Pub owner John Foulidis says he has to decide if Ford went "too far" while speaking about an untendered contract awarded to Foulidis' company. Speaking yesterday, the judge agreed Ford had a right to express an opinion on the contract as a mayoral candidate in 2010. The trial is expected to wrap up today.

A new poll suggests NDP MP Olivia Chow could win a mayoral election in Toronto even with a split anti-Ford vote, according to The Star. A survey by Forum Research found increasing support for Chow from Torontonians in the city and suburbs. The MP for Trinity-Spadina is rising in popularity with her name attached to the mayor's job.

Riding the rocket could be about to get a nickel more expensive as of January. The TTC is expected to approve a hike on Metropasses and other tickets, leaving cash fares unchanged at $3.

Also in trains, the Clean Train Coalition - an advocacy group fighting for electric trains on the under-construction air-rail link - is taking Metrolinx, the builders of the line who bought diesel vehicles, to court. Should we be fighting for electric trains even though it might push delay the project?

Toronto's board of health officially came out against a GTA casino yesterday, citing concerns over the negative impacts of gambling. OLG and several other casino companies have expressed an interest in developing a resort in the city. Could the tide be turning against a casino in Toronto?

Speaking of gambling, Rob Ford and Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi have agreed a friendly wager: the leader of the losing city at Sunday's Grey Cup has to donate his body weight in supplies to a local food bank and wear the jersey of the winning team at a council meeting.

Talk about flushing money down the toilet. A particularly dedicated (and rich) Maple Leafs fan has paid $5,300 for a salvaged dressing room toilet from the team's old College Street digs. It's safe to say numerous local hockey legends have defecated in this hallowed bowl over the years. Frankly, I'm not sure if that adds to the value.

Also in sports, the Jays monster trade with the Marlins has officially been confirmed after MLB commissioner Bud Selig announced he wouldn't stand in the way of the deal. The Jays also announced the signing of Melky Cabrera from the San Francisco Giants and it's rumored John Gibbons could return as manager.

Finally, here's a teaser for season two of hit web series The Avenue that is set for release next Tuesday. Filmed on location here in Toronto, the story follows Gregory Gorgeous and his circle of friends as they struggle with adult issues in the city.


Photo: "The view from their office" by michaelleckman from the blogTO Flickr pool.

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